Former President Bill Clinton’s claim that common sense election reforms like voter ID are an attempt to bring back Jim Crow is historically preposterous and an outrageous libel. An overwhelming majority of Americans support voter ID and that support runs across all racial and ethnic lines.
Such vitriolic racial rhetoric is a real sign of desperation by opponents like Clinton as voter ID keeps getting passed by state legislatures. Rhode Island is the latest state to implement such a voter ID law, and Democrats control the legislature there 4 to 1. Indeed, the bill was sponsored by a black Democrat who was concerned about voter fraud. He made it quite clear that he would not have supported any bill that “would present obstacles” to voting. The Providence Journal reported that liberal opponents “were stunned” by the passage of the law in “the country’s most Democratic and liberal state.”
Contrary to the claims of opponents, numerous studies have shown that voter ID requirements do not decrease the turnout of voters, including minority, poor, or elderly voters. Georgia and Indiana, the two states with the strictest voter ID laws in the country, have had several elections since their voter ID laws went into effect – turnout actually increased in those states.
The lawsuits filed by the usual liberal suspects like the ACLU against the Georgia and Indiana laws were thrown out by the courts because the plaintiffs failed to produce any individuals who would be unable to vote because of voter ID requirements. This despite constant, apocalyptic (and untrue) claims about mass disfranchisement.
For anyone interested in getting more details on this issue, the Heritage Foundation has just published a new study written by yours truly on voter ID and the specious arguments made against it by opponents. “Voter Photo Identification: Protecting the Security of Elections” is available here.